Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cooking with Maple

By: Gwen Miner, Supervisor of Domestic Arts This past Sunday, March 1 was the first of five “Sugaring off Sundays that we offer at the museum during the month of March. While the sap has not yet started to run here at the museum, the farmers made Jack Wax out on the green, the schoolhouse was open, and Blacksmith Steve Kellogg made several new “S” hooks to fit the crane in the More House. My co-worker Pat and I cooked with maple in the More House kitchen. It was a cold day and even with the radiant heat and the fire going it was tough getting things warmed up enough to mix and cook. We did not get to bake the Maple Cake recipe that I wrote about in my last blog, but did try two other recipes. We made Maple Tea Cake and Sugar Cookies using the recipes from The Art of Maple Cookery that was printed years ago here in the print shop. These recipes let us try out two different kinds of maple to cook with: maple sugar and maple syrup. Making sugar cookies also let us show a number of other processes in the kitchen: rolling, cutting and baking in the brick oven.

I made the Maple Tea Cake using two different shortenings. I used lard in one and butter in the other and got two different results. Both results were good; the cake with lard was lighter and dryer and had a hint of the “lard” while the butter cake was sweeter and chewier. I conducted an informal taste test on Monday with co-workers who decided that the butter cake was better. Following is the recipe as written in the book and in parentheses are the two shortenings and suggested sugar conversions.

MAPLE TEA CAKES 1 cup maple sugar shavings (1 cup maple syrup with shortening and ¾ with butter) 1/3 cup of fat (substitute butter or shortening, i.e. Crisco or lard) 1egg 3 tsp. of baking powder ¼ tsp. salt ½ cup sugar ¼ cup milk 2 cups flour ½ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional-did not add) Cream the sugar and fat and add the well-beaten egg. Sift the dry ingredients together and add alternately with the milk. Bake in small muffin tins. (I baked the cake in a tube type pan). (Bake at 350˚ until firm or a toothpick comes clean) The sugar cookies were great, so good that there were only four left by Monday morning.

SUGAR COOKIES 2 cups of maple syrup 1 cup sweet milk (regular milk) 4 eggs 1 cup of butter 2 tsp baking powder Enough flour to roll—about 5 cups Beat the sugar and butter to a cream, add the eggs well beaten. Add the milk, next the flour in which the baking powder has been well mixed. Roll and cut in any form to suit the taste. Bake in a moderate oven. (350˚ to 375˚)

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